The Law of Silence can be defined as: Sharing important information with someone who does not respond as well as expected can dissipate the sense of importance of the information. This does not amount to a law so much as it is a cautionary wisdom, but it is a foundation concept for the secrecy often required by ancient wisdom schools and advice to be at least considered by everyone.
Secrecy has been part of the ancient wisdom schools since the early days of civilization. There were a number of reasons for secrecy that involved the nature of the schools and local society. Of those, the wisdom of keeping our own counsel remains important today. However, paradoxically, personal progression is greatly facilitated by mastering meaningful communication of ideas. So which is it? Should we not share our thoughts about these concepts or should we openly talk about them? The answer is that sometimes it is best to remain silent, but sometimes it is more important to speak out. Understanding three aspects of communication will help to resolve this paradox.
The Principle of Suspended Judgement is described in the Implicit Cosmology as: Increased understanding may come from unexpected or unwanted outcomes of expression.1 As we mature into adults, worldview—what we unconsciously think is true about the world—is mostly populated with cultural beliefs. These beliefs are too often local prejudices and baseless lore that, if acted on, may lead us into a less than beneficial way of living. From this perspective, the purpose of life can be described as a quest to align worldview with the true nature of reality; that is, to replace beliefs with correct understanding.
A good way to take control of our unconscious mental processes is the practice of mindfulness.2 By consciously making the practice of suspended judgment a habitual part of our relationship with our environment, it is possible to train our unconscious perceptual process and thereby gain understanding that might not come if we simply accepted our first impressions.
Suspended judgement involves avoiding good-bad, agree-disagree, believe-disbelieve decisions about experiences so as to allow time—sometimes months or years—for more information to develop. It is important to be responsible for our actions, including seeking to accomplish specific tasks. The idea is that realizing something other than an intended result does not mean failure. Instead, the unexpected result offers an opportunity to reevaluate the assumptions on which the actions were based.
Suspended Judgment can be considered a more contemporary expression of the Law of Detachment. Deepak Chopra3 provides a good description of the Law of Detachment, but it begins with “In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty…” and continues with rather old-consciousness terms.
The idea of the Law of Detachment is that being set on a particular result of some effort will blind us from seeing the potential benefits of alternative results. But there is a problem of literal interpretation, as people instinctively reject the notion that they should be detached when virtually everything in society tells them to become engaged.
The principle of suspended judgment supports a more general perspective. Our unconscious mental processes are hard-wired to make decisions. That means there is an accept, reject or narrowly defined conditional accept decision for everything we do, sense or visualize. Consciously deciding to replace a reject outcome with a wait and see response teaches the unconscious mind to be more lenient in the conditional accept decision. This has the potential to make the content of worldview more accessible to evolution toward greater understanding.
The Principle of Perceptual Agreement is described as: Personality must be in perceptual agreement with the aspect of reality with which it will associate.4 This principle provides a mechanism by which order can be imposed on a system without many complex rules limiting behavior. Rather than some ethereal being telling us what we can and cannot do, or where we can go in heaven, this principle assures that we will gravitate toward aspects of reality which we are best able to understand. The practical consequence is that freedom of access to the greater reality is increased by gaining understanding which is in accordance with the operation of reality.
The self-limiting aspect based on understanding appears to be made practical by the “Maybe” state of the Perceptual Loop shown in the “Basic Functional Areas of Perception” diagram. New understanding occurs when new input is different but reasonably close to prior understanding. When it is, the new input is allowed into worldview, albeit after it is visualized by worldview based on prior understanding. In this model, in response to the inherited urge to gain understanding, personality gravitates toward that which is familiar but with a preference for new experiences.
There is a requirement in Rupert Sheldrake’s Hypothesis of Formative Causation5 for Nature’s habit to be evolved by creative solutions to environmental problems. The maybe solution in the Perceptual Loop provides this mechanism.
For our discussion, a consequence of this principle is that communication between two people is best when they are in perceptual agreement. That is, when their worldview leads them to see the world more or less the same way. This agreement need not be complete, but communication improves as the differences decrease.
Also see the Conversation: One Size Does Not Fit All essay in this column
For Those Who Have Eyes to See
As it happened, most of our mental processes are unconscious.6,7,8 As the arbiter of our mostly unconscious perceptual process,4 our worldview determines what we become consciously aware of and our attitude toward that emerging awareness. You have probably heard the phrase, “For those who have eyes to see.” It is often stated in the Bible and in modern philosophy. For instance Carl Jung told us that “Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.”
The phrase, Eyes to see, is perceptual agreement. In its simplest form, if we are not familiar with a concept, then we may not understand references to it. This becomes important to the Law of Silence when abstract concepts or emotion-laden information is involved. If our audience does not have relevant information in worldview because of lack of relevant experience or due to inattention, then communication is impaired and the person will likely not respond as expected. This disconnect in understanding is the source of such unfortunate responses as inattentional blindness or incredulity blindness.
It Takes a Community
Some of you will be familiar with the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This sage wisdom is in the literature of just about every religion and is one of the first lessons most of us learned as a child. I am in my seventies now and for the life of me, I have never been able to make sense of the saying. Sure, I understand the idea that being kind to others will encourage them to be kind to me, but it doesn’t really work that way. The fact is that people behave according to what they have been taught. My action can only slightly modify their worldview. The problem is in what they have been taught.
I needn’t go into the dynamics of prejudice and cultural fallacy. The point is pretty obvious. The cure is mindfulness, but one must come to that without being forced.
Even though the literal interpretation of the Golden Rule seems to be only wishful thinking, the underlying esoteric lesson it conveys is one of the most important wisdoms paving our way to spiritual maturity. Three of the organizing principles in the Implicit Cosmology1 support this conjecture:
Personalities are attracted to communities of like-minded people cooperating to facilitate progression. In effect, we inherit a sort of Prime Imperative from our source* to gain understanding about the nature of reality. At least in the physical, this is accomplished by learning through experience.
*Our source is probably an aspect of the universal Source (reality field).
Note the distinction between collectives and communities. There is evidence that groups of personalities sharing the same source cooperate in the etheric as a collective to fulfill the intention of their source. In the physical, we are attracted to communities of like-minded people for mutual cooperation toward gaining understanding. Cooperative communities likely support people from different collectives with rather different inherited objectives. The intention to gain understanding is a common factor. Cooperation is facilitated by rapport which is established between personalities as they interact in the community.
As an old adage goes, “Our lot is to learn, and having learned, our lot is to teach.” Each member of a cooperative community fills both the role of seeker and that of teacher, simply by interacting with other members of the community.
People are interconnected by links of cooperation (influence) forming a matrix of relationships (community). One personality’s awareness of another personality manifests as a link of influence between the two life fields that is related to visualization, attention and intention. The nature of this link of rapport depends on the clarity (intensity) of awareness and the reason for the awareness. These links are dynamic and are thought to facilitate cooperation.
Perceptual Agreement is a moderating factor for rapport. Presumably, the more two people agree on the nature of reality, the stronger the link of rapport. This is something that can wax and wane from moment to moment, as one or the other party is more or less at ease. This idea is well-characterized by the book, I’m OK – You’re OK.9
The Three Aspects of a Teacher
It seems reasonable to imagine that a long past wayshower might have told his students something to the effect of: “As you seek so do you teach, as you participate in the great work.” In keeping with the habit of secrecy, such a profundity would have been deliberately made obscure, but most of these lessons had a public counterpart. The seeker-teacher relationship is all about cooperation, and that might have been popularized as the Golden Rule.
The Emerald Tablet attributed to Hermes is an example of hidden knowledge that might have preceded the Golden Rule. It is one of the few examples of ancient teaching that is at least reasonably attributed to Hermes and not one of the more contemporary counterfeit philosophers who habitually attributed their work to more famous authors. Of the fourteen lines, Line 12 and 13 are arguably teaching the importance of cooperation.
- So the world was created. Hence were all the wonderful adaptations of the one thing manifested; but the arrangements that follow this great mystic path are hidden.
The one thing is the organizing principles acting on the etheric, which is Source as the reality field. Hermes is explaining that all of the things in reality were formed by way of the same principles he has explained in the previous lines. An important concept here is “For those who have eyes to see.” The way described in this lesson is hidden to those who have not followed this path.
- For this reason I am called Hermes Trismegiatus–one in essence but three in total aspect. In this Trinity are concealed the three parts of the wisdom of the whole world.
It is likely that there are multiple meanings in this line. The trinity is important throughout the Hermetic Wisdom, such as positive, negative and neutral and body, mind and spirit; however, there is a more deeply hidden aspect of the trinity concept. Understanding of, and ability to properly manage the trinity of imagination, attention and intention is the foundation of “the wisdom of the whole world.” See the “Basic Functional Areas of Perception” diagram above.
Trismegiatus was the honorary name given to a person who had achieved mastery over himself and the principles and who has integrated them into his or her way of life to achieve success. When considered with Line 12, the phrase, “For this reason,” makes it clear that the “three parts of the wisdom of the world” is a direct reference to the three aspects of all teachers. That is, a teacher represents the lesson to be taught, appears to the student as an example of what it is to understand the lesson and demonstrates the value of the lesson through application of the lesson in life.
These three aspects are demonstrated by the way Jesus presented himself in the Bible: John 14.6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” In this line, Jesus has told his disciples that he personifies the path that they must follow to return to God. He is showing himself to his followers as the three aspects of the teacher: follow me that I am the path; follow me as the Spirit of Truth; and, follow me as I have lived.
With these considerations, I believe the Golden Rule can be understood as a much simplified expression of the concepts related to community, cooperation and rapport: Teach others as they teach you. These principles and the three aspects of a teacher are fundamental enablers for our personal progression. The challenge then, is to balance the wisdom of silence with the advice that we should be wayshowers for others.
Practicing the Law of Silence
Keeping our own counsel is excellent advice, especially for people who are new to a path of learning; however, it is also excellent advice to find others with whom it is possible to safely discuss important information. The task is in knowing when to share and when to remain silent.
There are obvious cues for when to refrain from sharing important information. For instance, a conservative Christian is predictably offended by metaphysical subjects that might seem to conflict with popular understanding of biblical teaching. A discussion of the sanctity of all life would not be a good subject in a gun shop or at a Second Amendment meeting unless you are looking for a fight.
Sharing news of family problems with someone who has no useful references to understand your stress will likely not produce a supportive response. In the same way, sharing your excitement about having learned a very conceptual lesson about life with someone who is not yet ready for self-improvement is likely to drain away your enthusiasm as you try in vain to explain your excitement. The key to when to share is in understanding the idea of perceptual agreement. Make sure your listener is at least reasonably close to you in worldview.
At the same time, be mindful that you are always a teacher. We seldom experience grand awakenings. Instead, we learn in small increments. Be gentle with the uninitiated people around you. If you think you understand a little something about the world that might be of help to your friend’s progression, it is important that you share what you know. However, do so in increments that will be understandable.
The rest of that story is that you should not be attached to the outcome of the telling. People seldom react as we expect. Be open to whatever your friend’s reaction might be. If you are not prepared to accept a “So what” response, keep you counsel.
The most important thing you can do is to find a community of like-minded people and cultivate a culture of sharing and mutual support. It is by cooperating in a community that you will fulfill your urge to gain understanding.
- Tom, Organizing Principles, Etheric Studies, ethericstudies.org/concepts/principles.htm
- Butler, Tom, Mindfulness, Etheric Studies, ethericstudies.org/concepts/mindfulness.htm
- Chopra, Deepak, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A practical guide to the fulfillment of your dreams, Amber-Allen Publishing & New World Library, 1994, ISBN 1-878424-11-4, peace.ca/spirituallaws.htm
- Tom, Perceptual Process, Etheric Studies, ethericstudies.org/concepts/perception.htm
- Sheldrake, Rupert PhD, Morphic Resonance and Morphic Fields, from the website titled: Rupert Sheldrake Biologist and Author, sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/morphic/morphic_intro.html
- Decision-making May Be Surprisingly Unconscious Activity, Science Daily, 2008, sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080414145705.htm
- Carpenter, James C, Ph.D. First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life. l. : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4422-1392-0 (ebook). drjimcarpenter.com/about/documents/FirstSightformindfield.pdf
- Bargh, John A., Our Unconscious Mind, 2015, Scientific American, Volume 310 No. 1
- Harris, Thomas A. M.D., I’m OK – You’re OK, Harper Perennial 1969 (Reprint: July 6, 2004), ISBN-13: 978-0060724276 See: drthomasharris.com/